About DeniseFun facts for your book report, event or just because you're curious
When I was in kindergarten, my parents sent me to a special art class where I made a clay turtle and other things (that’s me in the class, painting). I liked art but found out I liked writing better. I wrote and illustrated my first book when I was around 12 years old, The Laziness of Peter Rabbit. Click here to see it on this site in all its glory.
Anytime we did a special project at school, I chose to write, including a newspaper that discussed Huckleberry Finn and a play about the Pullman railway car. When we were learning about Vienna, Austria in grade school, I wrote the words to a song for part of a report (but my partner sang it because I can’t carry a tune worth pinto beans).I also wrote a really bad novel when I was 15. It was exciting to type 144 pages, especially the last page where I wrote THE END.
- Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Regional Advisor Emeritus (RAE), served 10 years
- Author’s Guild (AG)
- Colorado Author’s League (CAL)
- Colorado Council, International Reading Association (CCIRA)
- Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN)
- Board Member, Reach Out and Read Colorado (RORCO)
- Associate Member, Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association
- Faculty, Lighthouse Writers Workshop
Picture books, children’s books, middle grade/young adult
- Young Adult Faculty Mentor, Regis University MFA in Creative Writing
Find out more about me below.
The mountains of Colorado
Fave Ice Cream
Banana Caramel Crunch (at Glacier near my house)
Ben & Jerry’s: Cherry Garcia, Peanut Butter Fudge Core, Salted Caramel Core
Cold Stone: Peanut Butter Cup Perfection(R)
(You’re killin’ me, guys!)
P.S. Not a fan of soft ice cream
Halloween for a long time, but now it’s
Thanksgiving because we have a fabulous
“Leftover Turkey Show” – a variety show in which many family members perform
Avocados (esp from CA)
French Fries (but I’m picky)
Roasted cauliflower (it’s true)
Fave Candy and Snacks
Butterfinger (bites OK)
ChocoLove Mint Bar
Malted Milk eggs (must have that crunchy exterior0
Ruffles Reduced Fat potato chips
FAQs About Denise
When and where were you born?
Where did you go to school?
Kindergarten: Peabody Elementary, Littleton, CO
Elementary/Middle School: All Souls School, Englewood, CO
High School: Arapahoe High School, Littleton, CO (with one year at Bishop Moore High School, Orlando, FL)
College: B.A., UCLA (1st two years at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO)
Post-grad: Ed.M. (Masters in Education), Harvard University
Do you have any kids?
I’m married to a man I’ve known since I was sixteen, but we didn’t start dating until we were in college. We have three adult kids–Zachary, Jesse (girl), and Rayanne. They are AWESOME!
Where do you live?
We live in Denver, Colorado and my mother-in-law lives with us, too.
Do you have any pets?
Not anymore. We had to put our adorable chocolate lab, Siena, to sleep in January 2007.
She lived for the tennis ball and would be your best friend if you threw it for her. Rayanne used to have a betta fish and a hamster but both died so right now we have no pets.
Do you have any siblings?
I have three sisters and one brother and each of us was born in a different state! I’m second oldest: My older bro, John, was born in Salt Lake City, UT. My sis, Michelle was born in New Orleans, LA, my other sis Cheryl (pronounced CH, as in “chair”) was born in Littleton and my baby sis, Rebecca, was born in Orlando, FL My sibling line-up from oldest to youngest: John, Denise, Michelle, Cheryl, Rebecca.
What kind of music do you like?
I like a lot of different kinds of music. Rock is my fav but I also listen to Celtic music, Native American flute, and other mellow stuff. Some of the bands on my iPhone right now: Tom Petty, Hinder, Death Cab for Cutie, Indigo Girls, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones.
What’s your shoe size?
Women’s 7 1/2-8, Chuck Taylor’s: 6
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Everywhere! Someone may say something, or I’ll read about something, or something happened to my son or daughter or niece or nephew. My ears are always open and I’ve got a long list of book ideas I can’t wait to work on!
Did you always want to be a writer?
When I was really young, I wanted to be a vet, then a firefighter, then a dancer. In junior high and high school I wanted to be either an actor or a writer. As I entered college, writing started to grab my interest more.
What influenced you in your writing?
Teachers were a HUGE influence. They challenged me and believed in me as a writer.
Marietta Brown (5th or 6th grade English – I’m still friends with her!), Sally McCabe who taught me English in 7th and 8th grade (she passed away several years ago – very sad), and Nancy Fehrmann Roach (now Fehrmann again), who was my literature teacher in 7th and 8th grade, Miss Ferrill in 9th, Mr. Rahn Anderson in 10th.the list goes on. All of them gave me encouragement and made me feel like a writer, as well as my parents, who also supported me early on.
Books were also a big influence. I read a lot as a kid and beyond and wanted to be able to create stories that readers could relate to, just as I related to the books I read. I wanted to entertain, but also maybe give readers insights, too.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Whoa. Huh. Good question. I would probably work behind the scenes in movies or in the theater or teach writing (which I do now, but would do more of if I couldn’t write for some reason).
What else are you interested in?
Meditation, yoga, Zumba, jogging/running and I LOVE nature, especially the mountains and the water there–put me next to a stream, river, waterfall and I’m in heaven. Love the ocean too—especially the Caribbean—but I definitely have mountain blood running through my veins.
Check out my gorgeous Tibetan singing bowl, giving to me by the lovely and talented Ann Martin of Mile High Healing Vibe! Often I put it on my head and tap it to clear my mind before I begin to write. It’s amazing!